LAHORE: Cashing on a good bowling performance by the bowlers who restricted Peshawar Zalmi to 172-5, Tahir Baig played an innings off 54 runs off 42 balls to help Lahore Qalandars overhaul a challenging target of 172 with seven balls to spare and helped his team set up a rematch against the Multan Sultans in the final of the HBL PSL 8 on Saturday (tomorrow).
Mirza Tahir Baig palyed a calculated innings which included seven boundaries and two 6s and it provided the right foundation to the Qalandars on which latter batters like Sam Billings 28 (21) and Sikandar Raza 23 (14) flourished. All-rounder Ahsan Hafeez played a cameo of 15 runs before he fell to Wahab Riaz’ pace while Fakhar Zaman 6 (5) fell cheaply to Azmatullah Omarzai. Abdullah Shafique was run out after a costly misunderstanding between Shafique and Mirza Tahir Baig.
Shaheen Shah Afridi 12 (4) hit the winning 6 off Salman Irshad to seal the victory while David Wiese 9 (7) returned unbeaten.
No Zalmi bowler could impress although Wahab Riaz accounted for the wicket of all-rounder Ahsan Hafeez off his first ball but pulled his hamstring and was visibly seen in pain in the later overs. He conceded 20 runs for one wicket in his three over before he hobbled out of the field. Azmatullah Omarzai was the most successful bowler for the Zalmi and bagged two wickets for 31 runs in his quota of four overs while Aamer Jamal and Salman Irshad claimed one wicket each 32 and 42 runs respectively.
Mujeebur Rehman looked out of sorts and never looked in control of proceedings as he conceded 35 runs in four over without a wicket. Saim Ayub bowled one over of off-spin for 5 runs.
Earlier, Mohammad Haris held the innings together through a responsible knock of 85 runs off 54 balls after Saim Ayub fell cheaply in the second over of the Peshawar Zalmi innings and helped Peshawar Zalmi post a total of 171-5. He built a partnership of 89 runs off 60 balls with Babar Azam who fell in the 12th over. Haris’ innings, a combination of aggression and restraint, included 11 boundaries and two 6s, and all across the square before he was caught at deep fine leg by Fakhar Zaman off a last ball full toss of Shaheen Shah Afridi’s quota. The replays showed that the ball dipped on the batter and was not above the waist.
Babar Azam hit 42 off 36 balls before he was adjudged leg before wicket off the bowling of Rashid Khan by umpire Martin Saggers and the decision Babar immediately reviewed. The replays showed that the ball just brushed the leg stump and a disappointed Babar had to leave on umpire’s call while the review was retained.
The Qalandar’s bowlers took control of proceedings soon after Babar fell at 104-3 in the 12th overs and conceded mere 67 runs off 51 balls as Kadmore fell for a duck off Rashid Khan and Aamer Jamal was clean bowled by Zaman Khan as he tried to play a lap shot.
Rajapaksa hit 25 off 18 balls while Haseebullah Khan scored 5 runs off 2 balls he faced.
Lahore bowlers proved their prowess as a bowling unit once again as they restricted Zalmi to 171-5 in the 20 overs after Zalmi had scored 98-1 off the first 10 overs. Rashid Khan and Zaman Khan shared two wickets each for 42 and 20 runs each while Shaheen Shah Afridi picked wicket for 42 runs in his quota of four overs. Rashid Khan was expensive in his first two overs and conceded 27 runs but he came back strong and claimed two wickets in the third over which included the prized scalp of Babar Azam. Shaheen Shah Afridi and Rashid Khan proved expensive and conceded more than 10 runs per over.
Bowling with pace and guile, Haris Rauf conceded 31 runs without success in his quota of four overs while David Wiese and Ahsan Hafeez bowled economical five wicketless overs between them for 23 (3 overs) and 12 (2 overs) runs respectively.
Multan Sultan will play the third straight final while the Qalandars play the second consecutive when they meet in the final of the HBL PSL 8 on Saturday (18th March, 2023).